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ADDitude's top ADD/ADHD experts answer readers' questions about parenting children with, and about adults living with, ADD/ADHD.

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Archives: February 2012

posted: Monday February 27th - 6:07pm

Pretend Play at School: Helping My ADHD Son Get Real

Q: "My eight-year-old son has a vivid imagination—he loves to pretend he is a pirate, a superhero, or a dinosaur. I’ve never worried about his pretend play, until his teacher said he was doing it a lot in her classroom. I’ve always loved his creative little mind, and I thought he would just outgrow it. What should I do?"

girls drawing together
A: Children and adults with attention deficit disorder are creative, out-of-the-box thinkers. But there are limits. As a parent, you should answer the following questions: 1) Does your ADHD child know the difference between pretend and reality? If the answer is no, have him evaluated by a psychologist/psychiatrist to rule out the possibility of a thought disorder. 2) Is your child able to read the social cues to know...
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posted: Wednesday February 22nd - 5:28am

Message to the World: "Stop the ADHD Prejudice"

Unfair stereotypes about adults with ADHD still prevail despite inspiring stories like these. Why can't the world just let us succeed?

A Canadian newspaper recently ran an article about a woman finding out that her doctor, after being under his care for more than 30 years, admitted to having ADHD. She said, "It kind of blew my mind." Her doctor didn’t fit her stereotype of an adult with ADHD. Her doctor encouraged her to tell his story because he wanted her to drive home what much of the...
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posted: Sunday February 19th - 5:30am

When IEP Is a Four-Letter Word

A new study reveals a troubling fact: Parents aren't involved as they should be in planning classroom accommodations. Is it because schools aren't doing enough to loop families in when it's time for special-ed services?

teacher and parent discuss iep and 504 plan with child in school classroom
For every parent who has a productive IEP meeting with special-educators at school, there are three or four moms and dads who feel they’ve spun their wheels. In fact, a new study in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies found that parents and students are less involved in mapping out services and accommodations than they should be, despite the fact that the federal law specifically mandates...
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posted: Friday February 17th - 5:23am

Go Back to Sleep!

Q: "I fall asleep fine, but when 2 or 3 o’clock comes around I wake up with all kinds of thoughts and fears of things that are so magnified in the middle of the night. Does anybody have any ideas on how I can relax my mind once I wake up so that I can fall back asleep?"

A: First I think it is important to get to the root of why you are waking up in the middle of the night. People with ADHD are more prone to having anxiety and/or depression. They are also more likely to wait until the point of exhaustion before they go to bed – make sure you get to this point. You may also be living a...
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posted: Thursday February 16th - 9:25am

Talk Therapy: Getting Through to Your ADHD Teen

Q: "How do I show my teen how wonderful he is without him thinking that I am saying it because I’m his mom? How do I give him advice without making him feel like he’s stupid or that I’m criticizing him?"

Best practices for coexisting with your ADHD teen.
A: Teens tend to discount the positive things their parents say about them — "You're my mom. You have to think I’m wonderful, but that doesn’t mean I am” — and look to friends and peers for affirmation. Nonetheless, here are some tips for letting your son know how great he is and to pass along constructive advice that he will listen to: Avoid global praise. Don't say,...
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posted: Monday February 13th - 1:08pm

Texts Gone Wild: ADHD and Digital Impulsivity

Q: "My teen is impulsive, and he texts his friends and siblings without thinking about what he’s saying. He has made inappropriate comments to friends and family, and it has cost him a couple of friendships. How can I get him to think before he texts?"

adhd teens look at text messages on cell phone
A: Your son isn't alone. Many children and adults with ADHD have challenges with impulsivity and technology makes it too easy for them to shoot their half-baked words into cyberspace. Texting, emailing, Tweeting, and chatting on Facebook encourage quick, short responses. In the hands of an impulsive teen, this is a recipe for saying the wrong thing — a lot. If he is willing — and it...
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posted: Wednesday February 8th - 3:08pm

When Will the ADHD Medication Shortage End?

Q: "I cannot find Dexedrine IR in any of the pharmacies I have tried in NY. My next option is to go back to Adderall short acting, but I’m told that is also very hard to find. Is anyone else having this problem?"

Yes, a stimulant medication shortage occurred towards the end of 2010. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) only allots a certain amount of stimulant drug per pharmaceutical company. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that the amount of drug allotted by the DEA is not enough to meet patient needs. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon. For more information, see my blog post,...
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posted: Tuesday February 7th - 1:03pm

Is ADHD the Reason I Sleep Around the Clock?

I sleep up to 12 hours a night and nap during the day. Is excessive sleeping a symptom of inattentive type ADD?

larrysilverthumb
A: Your need for more-than-average sleep at night, plus daytime naps, is not the result of ADHD. Something else is going on in your life — perhaps depression or other stresses. You should see a mental health professional to find the cause. ...
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posted: Tuesday February 7th - 10:55am

First Line of Treatment?

"My son was recently diagnosed with ADD, and his doctor wants to prescribe a stimulant. Shouldn’t the first step be to change our routines and discipline strategies to see if that helps?"

larrysilverthumb
If your physician established a diagnosis of ADHD for your son, the treatment should be medication. (Editor's Note: The new AAP Diagnosis Guidelines recommend behavior therapy as the first line of treatment for children ages 4 and 5.) If you are not convinced of the diagnosis, you might get a second opinion. If you accept the diagnosis, it is important to understand that ADHD is a biological...
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posted: Tuesday February 7th - 3:13am

Disclose His ADHD: Yes or No?

Q: When applying to college, should my son disclose his attention deficit diagnosis? He has done well in high school without academic accommodations. Won't ADHD disclosure be viewed as an excuse?

Quinn_120
Having your son disclose that he has ADHD, and helping him develop self-advocacy skills to get the support he needs, are keys to success at college with attention deficit. Using resources on campus is not an excuse, but rather a demonstration of his determination to be successful. Colleges are looking for that kind of can-do attitude. In addition to disclosing ADHD on college applications, I recommend...
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posted: Monday February 6th - 1:13pm

Disruptive at School, But Fine at Home

"At school our eight-year-old daughter is disruptive, can’t focus, and does not keep up with her assignments. She has been labeled as having ADHD, but she seems fine at home and in other environments. What is going on?"

larrysilverthumb
A: Because your daughter exhibits these behaviors only at school, it doesn’t sound like ADHD. She may have a learning disability, have a problem with bullying or other peer stress, or be responding to family stress. Start by asking for a meeting with the teacher, school psychologist/counselor, and others who know your daughter. Discuss what is happening and work with a team to put a plan...
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posted: Friday February 3rd - 1:35pm

I'm On Meds, But She's Still Stewing

ADHD medication has given me more focus at work, but my partner is still angry about how my ADHD has affected our relationship. Can’t she be happy for me?

MelissaOrlov_120
A: I’m sure your partner is glad for your new, improved focus at work, but she probably wants some of that attention to carry over into your relationship. Ask yourself, "What can I do to be a better partner?" Talk with your spouse and ask her what she would recommend. Perhaps you don’t help around the house as much as she would like you to, leading...
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posted: Wednesday February 1st - 1:04pm

Ritalin Redux

This popular and beneficial ADHD medication gets a bad rap.

Ned Hallowell is a bestselling author of books about adult ADHD and how proper diagnosis and treatment can change your ADHD life for the better.
I take issue with the opinion piece "Ritalin Gone Wrong,” written by Alan Sroufe, Ph.D. (The New York Times, January 29, 2012). As is usually the case when the use of stimulant medications like Ritalin makes it into mainstream media, the article pushes emotional hot buttons that scares the daylights out of uninformed readers and leads them to avoid using such medications or allowing their children...
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